black lives matter

Activists Celebrate Removal of Columbus Statue at SF's Coit Tower

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As many Americans celebrate the Fourth of July this weekend, a small group of activists gathered Friday at the foot of Coit Tower, the former site of the Christopher Columbus Statue in San Francisco, to celebrate what they believe are a few local accomplishments for Native Americans and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Sitting at the pedestal, where the statue once stood, a band played for the group of organizers.

“We’re celebrating the taking down of the Columbus statue that represents the colonization and repression of Indigenous people,” said Lucia Obregon of San Francisco.

Last month, the city removed the statue that had been the target of vandals for years. Protesters then pulled down the statue of Father Junipero Serra, which had been standing in Golden Gate Park.

“Obviously the statues are down,” said Javier Biagas of Oakland. “And so the big question is, what do we do now, and where do we go from here?”

As a Lakota Sioux Tribe member, Biagas said his family has been involved in Native American activism since the 1970s. On Friday, his cousins were even protesting President Donald Trump’s appearance at Mount Rushmore, which is a sacred site.

At the event in San Francisco, it was part celebration and part brainstorming session, along with a pledge for continued solidarity with Black Lives Matter and other groups.

“Black and Brown have always been together,” said one of the activists. “We know the struggles, we know the injustices that we have faced, but what you saw up there, the solidarity, that’s just what we do.”

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